How to Have the Best Courthouse Ceremony Experience | Glenview Mansion, MD | Shengting + Fengqi

I feel like often times, people see courthouse ceremonies as just a simple, quick event where you just sign the papers, get your license, and then head on home – but it can be so much more than that!

I tell all my couples that, just like with any big traditional wedding, your special day is whatever you want to make of it. That means adding as much drama as you want, going as extra as you’d love, and making the day as big or fun as you two’s personalities are. Some ways to add some *pizzaz* to your courthouse ceremony day comes after the ceremony, such as:

  • Stopping by a picturesque location for portraits or a meaningful place for the two of you – This is a 100% must-do, as the wedding portraits afterwards signify and commemorate the moment truly. I come up with a list of pretty places within the vicinity of the courthouse area, but venturing outside if it means photographing at a location that truly speaks to you both, then I’m down.
  • Bringing your own bouquet! – Make a quick stop to Trader Joe’s or whichever grocery/convenience store and putting together all the florals you want and wrapping it altogether with a chiffon ribbon.
  • Bring champagne! – Bring a bottle or two (in case the first one flops, since that does happen) and we’ll pop a huge one together to celebrate after with some really fun photos!
  • Bring allll the props! – Other prop ideas are sustainable confetti, rose petals to throw into the air, special memorabilia (heirlooms or memorial pins), change of outfits, etc. Whatever can make the photos come out more you, bring them!
  • Capture the celebration with loved ones after – After the official ceremony and wedding portraits, what some of my couples do is head back home to an intimate celebration with their loved ones. Who says the photos have to stop here?!
  • For more ideas on props to bring, you can visit my other blogpost on wedding details ideas!

I often recommend putting aside at minimum 2-3 hours to capture all of the above if they want to go all out because even the “smallest” event of a courthouse ceremony is a big celebration that deserves to be commemorated to the same extent as a big traditional wedding. Your love deserves it all.




It was such a pleasure photographing Shengting and Fengqi’s courthouse ceremony, which was at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, MD.

Shengting first reached out to me about two weeks from their courthouse date, which fell at the perfect time for me since I was moving to DC just a couple days beforehand. When we hopped on the phone and planned everything out, it all just fell into place. I met them for the first time at the courthouse and photographed their signing of the papers, their first kiss as a married couple, and then visited the Glenview Mansion, about half an hour away from where they got married, for their private portraits afterward.

The Glenview Mansion is a great location during the summer because of all the shade it provides within their ornamental gardens. The tall hedges makes you feel like you’re entering a greenery maze with a small fountain and granite stairs. The stone archways just pulls everything together as well. The place was also relatively private, with only a few visitors walking by within the hour that we spent there.

I thought it was super cute that Shengting brought plushies as one of her props! She said she bought two because it was “one for her, one for him,” and that was the most adorable things ever since I haven’t had any couples do that before. So obviously I had to capture them sitting together with their plushies!


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